Blue Babies

Keka Araújo
4 min readJan 15, 2021

I loved visiting my grandmother. And as I sat on the porch rubbing my pregnant belly, I admired her beauty. She was 107-years old and long in the tooth, but this woman was still agile and spry. Her obsidian skin and bright blue eyes glistened in the broiling sun.

“Don’t you eat another one of dem molasses cookies, Abby,” she laughed and smacked my hand away from the plate.

“They’re just so good, Iyagba.”

“Come on in the house, baby. It’s hot out here,” Iyagba said as she walked to the door.

I obliged.

I hadn’t visited much since I had gotten married two years ago. But when Omar and I announced my pregnancy five months ago, my granny insisted I spend my last month with her.

It was an easy decision. Shit, my granny threw down in the kitchen, she pampered me, and most importantly, I adored her.

My mama died on my seventh birthday, and my grandma raised me.

We sat on the sofa. Iyagba took a deep breath and began to speak in a slow drawl.

“I’ve waited a long time for this moment, and it’s finally here,” she sighed.

I listened as she described how the ancestors of the women from this area, including our kinfolk that unwillingly left Africa, made a pact with La Yenya as they crossed her sometimes-turbulent waters to get here. Iyagba explained how some women would pray to her for protection, offering her a blood sacrifice.

“La Yenya would visit them in their dreams, and she’d mark the children of those who’d given her the most important valuable part of their being,” Granny whispered.

She explained the mark was the shape of a star on the baby’s crown, and it appeared when the babies were born. The babies also had piercing blue eyes that seemed to glow. To close the pact, the mothers would have to bathe their newborns in the water from the mothers’ bodies for seven days.

My eyes were wide with wonder.

“Those chirren were her soldiers against the white folks who caused us harm. The elders called them the ‘Blue…

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Keka Araújo

Opinionated, bilingual diasporan activist. Editor-In-Chief at Negra With Tumbao and Senior Editor at MADAMENOIRE. Opinions are mine!.